Illustrated Novel Library

Weidenfeld & Nicolson (London, UK)
Series dates: 1951-1955
Size: 5.25″ x 8.5″

Farrar, Straus & Young (New York, US)
Series dates: 1952-1954
Size: 5.25″ x 8.5″

The Illustrated Novel Library was a series of eight pre-WW2 titles, all fiction with a hint of the exotic, published by Weidenfeld & Nicholson in the UK and Farrar, Strauss and Young in the US. All had illustrations created for the series. Weidenfeld was probably the lead publisher of this series, as the first volume (Balzac’s A Bachelor’s Establishment) was issued in the UK in 1951, followed by publication in the US by Farrar in 1952. Weidenfeld published all eight titles, Farrar just six.

Charles-Louis Philippe’s Bubu of Montparnasse was published in the series in the UK in 1952. I cannot find a US edition in the series. Jackets on both the UK and US series are unique to each title (and the same for the UK and US issues), including an illustration from the text and a band at the bottom of the jacket with the author and title. The colors used for the band and spine varied (red, blue, orange). The front jacket flap includes a blurb about the title, followed by a price (10s/6d in this case). The series name is not on the jacket spine nor front flap.

The rear flap blurbs another title in the series, Galdos’ Torment. It is priced a bit more, at 12s/6d. It was not uncommon for the price of series books to vary, based on the number of pages in the book (shorter books cost less). These reissues were being published with a very small profit margin, and another signature or two of paper increased the cost of book publication enough to justify a slightly higher price. The back of the jacket includes the series name and a blurb about the series. In this case, the initial four titles in the series are listed (up to and including Bubu). Weidenfeld eventually published 8 titles in the series in the UK, and Farrar published 6 in the US:

Honore de Balzac, A Bachelor’s Establishment (UK: 1951; US: 1952)
Perez Galdos, The Spendthrifts (UK: 1951; US 1952)
Perez Galdos, Torment (UK: 1952, US: 1953)
*Charles-Louis Philippe, Bubu of Montparnasse (UK: 1952)
Emile Zola, Restless House (UK: 1953; US: 1953)
*Arthur Schnitzler, Casanova’s Homecoming (UK: 1954)
Emile Zola, The Kill (UK: 1954; US: 1954)
*Edmond de Goncourt, Germinie (UK: 1955)

* UK issue only

A note in The Bookseller periodical in 1953 indicates that twelve new titles were to be issued in the series; a few of these may have been published (the Schnitzler, Zola and de Goncourt titles) but the rest were, it seems, scrapped.

Red cloth binding:

The half title page includes the series name:

An illustration from the book, by Leonard Rosoman, faces the title page.

A note on the translator and publication information and date of issue (1952) is on the copyright page. The translation was issued originally in 1932. The book was printed by the Curwen Press, Plaistow, UK.